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What high school juniors should be doing now…

By Liz Jurkowski

In some ways, the junior year of high school can be the most fun. The eleventh grader already knows the ins and outs of high school culture, has figured out how to manipulate the system a bit, and has the ability to pick and choose classes and electives he or she is actually interested in. The stress and awkwardness of ninth and tenth grade is over, good friends have been made, and the light at the end of the high school tunnel (called the senior year) is within sight.

While the junior year may be the most fun, it is also the toughest one academically. Most students are taking courses at the AP or honors level, and they realize how important their grades and scores will be when they start applying to colleges.

There will be much to do in the fall, and even though it seems like juniors can take that deep breath now that they have “learned the ropes,” they can make their senior year much smoother by focusing right now.

Castle Pines resident Sarah Tierney, president of Mosaic Admissions, LLC, advises and helps students in the college application process. She provides these tips for high school juniors to think about and to do this spring:

Develop a Standardized Testing Strategy

“It is critical that you plan when you will take the ACT and/or SAT Reasoning Test. SAT Subject Tests are also required for admission to many elite colleges, and often for specific majors such as engineering and computer science.

Since they are curriculum-based, you’ll optimize your chance of acing these tests if you take them as soon as you complete the corresponding course in school.”

Research Colleges

“If you have not started researching colleges, it’s time to get busy. Attend college fairs, explore college web sites, blogs and social media sites, and visit as many college campuses as possible. If you can’t visit the specific colleges in which you’re interested, tour local campuses so that you can get a feel for their differences and similarities. CU-Boulder will give you an idea of what it’s like to attend a large, research university, while Colorado College is a great example of a small liberal arts college.”

Start Thinking About Teacher Recommendations

“By now, you probably know several teachers well, and can identify a few who would be eager to write you a letter of recommendation.

If you’re going to major in biology and you excelled in AP Biology, then ask your biology teacher to write a letter on your behalf. Ask your teachers before the end of your junior year so that they have plenty of time to write an insightful recommendation.”

Continue to do well in school, participate in extra-curricular activities, and follow the steps above to make your senior fall much easier.



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